The 18 Card Challenge - October: Create an 18 card game that doesn't use a table or surface.

Holy moly. September was WILD and we received 228 entries for the Identical Card Game challenge. We've already started judging and it's amazing to see what everyone has come up with. As you may know, we're doing this as a video series and we just posted the teaser trailer for the series. If you want to follow the progress of the submissions and results, check it out and follow along.

As for October... the new challenge is up! Yes, we are doing this every month. :)

OCTOBER CHALLENGE: Create an 18 card game that does not use a table or surface. 

Additional rules: The entire game (and all cards that are used to play it) must be in the possession of players or moved between players from the time it starts until the time it ends. You may deal starting cards and move the remaining cards back into the packaging, as long as they remain out of play for the duration of the game.

More additional rules: cards are poker sized and cannot be cut or torn or drawn on. No additional components.

If you haven't joined our amazing community at discord (500 new members since we announced this design series), join us here:

Let's get into the details:


Submissions will be accepted until Thursday October 31, 2019 at 11:59 PM EST.

Winner will be announced on or before Tuesday November 26, 2019.

Component Limitations

18 cards

NOTES: Cards should be poker sized and not square. Cards may not have holes cut through them or be modified with markers or dry erase or any other compoenents.

Rules - web document is fine, no formatting necessary. Rules cannot be used as a physical component of the game.

No additional components (no pen, paper, scissors, etc)

Submission Requirements

For your submission, you will need to send the following to with "October Design Challenge - [your game name]" as the subject:

  1. Game Description: Including Game Title, Player Count, Estimated Play Time, Recommended Ages (if any), Brief Description of the game play.
  2. Print-and-Play File: This should include the rules and play sheet(s). The file can be hosted on either your own site, or a public one like Dropbox or Google Drive, or emailed as an attachment. IF YOUR FILES HAVE PERMISSIONS, PLEASE MAKE SURE THEY ARE OPEN SO THAT WE CAN SEND TO OTHER JUDGES.
  3. Short Pitch Video: No more than 3 minutes. This doesn't need to be any more than a handheld phone video, but we just request to see some visuals of the gameplay. WE RECOMMEND YOUTUBE OR VIMEO. WE WILL BE USING VIDEOS IN OUR WEB SERIES.

Additional Restrictions

Designs must be original works that do not infringe on any intellectual property. Submission must not be publicly available through any retail, secondary or print-on-demand market and may not be currently under consideration for publication by other publishers.

One submission per entrant.

Designers must be 18 years or older to enter.

While designs need not have final artwork or graphics, they should be complete and usable. All designs remain the intellectual property of the designers.


The winner will receive $100 , paid via Paypal. All entries may be considered for publication by Button Shy Games (and will be offered a contract with royalties like any other design that we publish).


We will feature the game images and submission videos on our YouTube channel. We will discuss the finalists in detail and judge them on video as well. We will not be providing feedback on all entries, but watching the subsequent videos will show why specific games made it to the finalists or won. We plan to keep comments positive, and highlight why a game won instead of why a game lost.

Good luck everyone!


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